Following a rare and hard-fought 104-101 victory over the Detroit Pistons earlier this week, the Milwaukee Bucks quickly found themselves back in familiar territory.
It briefly appeared as though the Bucks had carried over some momentum from that gritty home win to their matchup in Cleveland on Friday night, but that was ultimately not the case.
They maintained a lead until the 6:36 mark of the first quarter and also kept things close heading into the second frame, trailing just 24-23. From there, however, the wind left the sails and the Bucks fell 93-78 to the Cavaliers. The loss dropped the Bucks to 8-34 and left them still without back-to-back victories in 2013-14.
This wasn’t the first time the Bucks had a realistic chance to get on a roll – which I think is fair to say, given that Milwaukee and Cleveland split their previous two meetings this season.
Last month, the Bucks could have actually won four straight games, if only for a few lucky bounces.
On Dec. 18 they suffered a 107-101 double overtime loss to the New York Knicks, two nights later they lost 114-111 to the Cavaliers in overtime, the following night they defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, only to lose 111-110 in overtime against the Charlotte Bobcats on Dec. 23.
The way the schedule plays out, the Bucks will have a couple more shots at wining two in a row, although their best chances may have already slipped away. Should they fail to notch consecutive wins, it would place the Bucks in some rather distinguished company – foremost with the Bobcats.
In the lockout shortened season of 2011-12, the Bobcats went 7-59, didn’t string together two wins and ended the season on a 23-game losing streak.
Even the 76ers, who went 9-73 in 1972-73 (the worst record for a full season), actually managed to post back-to-back wins twice in a stretch during February 1973, when they surprisingly won five out of seven games.
Furthermore, despite compiling a record of 8-42 in the 1998-99 season, also shortened due to a lockout, the then-Vancouver Grizzlies managed to pair two wins together and they could have made it three straight if not for a 131-129 triple overtime loss to the Boston Celtics on Feb. 17, 1999.
Of course a team could, in theory, have a .500 season without winning consecutive games, but in reality, teams, even really bad ones, go through hot and cold stretches of some magnitude.
The Bucks have evidently had their share of losing streaks this season, so I have to think that at some point soon – before the Draft Lottery — the odds will be in their favor.